“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit on January 30, 2015 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Obama opens new African American Museum amid national racial strife

Yahoo – AFP, Shahzad Abdul, September 24, 2016

US President Barack Obama speaks during the opening ceremony for the
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
September 24, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (AFP Photo/Zach Gibson)

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama hailed Saturday the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a long-awaited institution dedicated to the many threads of black suffering and triumph in the United States.

The first black president of the United States cut the ribbon to inaugurate the striking 400,000-square-foot (37,000-square-meter) bronze-clad edifice before thousands of spectators gathered in the US capital to witness the historic opening, at a time of growing racial friction.

"Beyond the majesty of the building, what makes this occasion so special is the larger story it contains," said Obama -- just a few months before he leaves office -- at the star-studded public ceremony that included the likes of Stevie Wonder and Oprah Winfrey.

"African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story. It's not the underside of the American story," he said. "It is central to the American story."

The Smithsonian's 19th addition to its sprawling museum and research complex is the first national museum tasked with documenting the uncomfortable truths of the country's systematic oppression of black people, while also honoring the integral role of African-American culture.

"A clear-eyed view of history can make us uncomfortable," Obama said. "It is precisely of that discomfort that we learn and grow and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect. That's the American story that this museum tells."

Guests of honor on stage included four generations of a black family called the Bonners, led by 99-year-old great-grandmother Ruth, the daughter of a slave who went on to graduate from medical school.

After Obama declared the museum "open to the world," it was she -- stooped in stature but smiling broadly -- who tugged on a rope to ring an antique bell from an historic black church, sealing the inauguration.

"I feel a sense of pride and a sense of humbleness because of all the sacrifices that so many people made to make this happen," said audience member Karmello Colman, who trekked halfway across the country for the ceremony from Kansas City, Missouri.

"I feel honored because it is highlighting the accomplishments of my ancestors, who were probably slaves, and those of so many others."

Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith attend the opening ceremony for the 
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
 (AFP Photo/Zach Gibson)

Deteriorating race relations

Elected in a wave of optimism in 2008, Obama pledged to unify, often repeating that he is not the president of black Americans but of all Americans.

But as his presidential mandate ends polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans see US race relations as "generally bad."

The recent fatal police shootings of black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Charlotte, North Carolina laid bare yet again the country's racial disquiet.

Obama delivered his Saturday address amid these ever-heightening tensions, as national outrage grows over the spate of deaths of black men at the hands of police, prompting mass protests.

The president emphasized that a museum alone cannot solve the ills of a country still struggling to overcome a dark legacy of slavery and racial prejudice, but said it "provides context for the debate of our times."

"Perhaps it can help a white visitor understand the pain and anger of demonstrators and places like Ferguson and Charlotte," Obama said.

"It can also help black visitors appreciate the fact that not only is this younger generation carrying on traditions of the past, but within the white communities, across the nation, we see the sincerity of law enforcement officers and officials who, in fits and starts, are struggling to understand."

"And are trying to do the right thing," he said.

Protesters hold signs in front the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department 
during a demonstration in Charlotte, North Carolina (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

'Hallowed ground'

The dramatic building -- set in a prime location near the White House and the Washington Monument -- features three inverted-pyramid tiers sheathed in bronze-painted filigree panels that house more than 34,000 objects, nearly half of them donated.

Obama noted that the building reaches 70 feet below ground -- "its roots spreading far wider and deeper than any tree on this mall" -- a crypt of historical galleries that wind from slavery to civil rights to Black Lives Matter, ascending into upper floors that include testaments to African-American cultural contributions.

"I'm so happy to see that so many people of color are coming out together just to celebrate themselves and one another," said 50-year-old Derek Jones, who ventured from New York to attend Saturday's celebration that included music, poetry and dancing.

"It's amazing to get this opened by the end of Obama's eight years," Jones said, adding that he is "proud that he's still president during the opening -- it's really profound."

Ringing up to $540 million -- half of which was raised from private donations -- the museum shows "that this country born of change, this country born of revolution, this country of we the people, this country can get better," Obama said.

"It is a monument, no less than the others on this mall, to the deep and abiding love for this country and the ideals upon which it is founded. For we, too, are American."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Indonesia, Kenya and Ghana to be removed from Dutch aid list

DutchNews, September 20, 2016

Photo: Dutch foreign ministry 
Indonesia, Kenya and Ghana are to be removed from the list of 15 countries where the Netherlands concentrates its aid efforts in 2020, aid minister Lilianne Ploumen has told parliament. 

Three countries will be added to the list to replace them. They are likely to come from the Sahel region in Africa, which lies between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanese savanna, the minister said in her briefing

The government’s policy is to focus on countries closer to Europe’s borders. 

Over the past six years, the number of countries which benefit from Dutch aid efforts has been cut from 33 to 15. 

In seven – Afghanistan, Burundi, Jemen, Mali, Palestine, Rwanda and South Sudan – the focus is on tacking poverty and boosting stability. In the other eight – Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia, Mozambique and Uganda – reducing poverty, and boosting jobs and private sector involvement are central. 

Rwanda is to be moved from the category of poorest countries and will get more help with trade and investment, Ploumen said.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dutch ports at centre of dirty diesel trade, Swiss report claims

DutchNews, September 19, 2016

A lorry near Accra. Photo: Carl De Keyzer – Magnum 

Swiss commodity trading firms are exploiting lax regulatory standards to sell toxic fuel to Africa and much of the dirty diesel is stored in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, according to a report by Swiss NGO Public Eye

Rotterdam oil firm Vitol and Dutch Swiss Trafigura, have major refining and storage interests in the Netherlands and in Antwerp where crude oil is mixed with other substances to keep prices low, Public Eye claims.

‘The 160-page report also shows that the trading companies not only ship dirty diesel and dirty gasoline — and in some areas even sell it at their own pumps — but also produce both fuels themselves,’ Public Eye said.

‘On land or at sea, they mix up a petrochemical cocktail from refinery products and other components known in the industry as “African Quality”. These toxic fuels are mainly mixed in the ARA-Zone (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) where Swiss trading firms have their own refineries and storage facilities,’ the report said. 

Banned substances

Many West African countries that export high grade crude oil to Europe receive toxic low quality fuel in return. 

Public Eye researchers drew fuel at local pumps in eight countries and found diesel samples contained up to 378 times more sulfur than is permitted in Europe. Other toxic substances, such as benzene and poly-cyclical aromatic hydrocarbons, were also found in concentrations that are banned in Europe. 

Unacceptable

‘It is unacceptable that we continue to supply developing countries with sub-standard fuels and vehicles, which result in major health impacts by increasing air pollution,’ said Eric Solheim, executive director of the UN’s environment programme.

‘In our globalized economy, there are good reasons to universallyapply clean fuel and vehicle standards in every country. Dumping old and dirty substances and technologies needs to stop now.’ 

According to Trouw, both Vitol and Trafigura say they support measures to reduce pollution and will reduce the level of sulfur permitted in fuel if the countries concerned change the regulations.

Related Article:


Sunday, September 11, 2016

World governments urge end to domestic ivory markets

Yahoo – AFP, Kerry Sheridan, September 11, 2016

After fierce debate, including opposition from Namibia and Japan, a motion was 
adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to urge closure of all 
domestic ivory markets (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

Miami (AFP) - In a bid to stop the killing of elephants for their tusks, world governments voted at a major conservation conference to urge the closure of all domestic ivory markets.

After fierce debate -- including opposition from governments like Namibia and Japan -- the motion was adopted on the final day of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, a 10-day meeting that drew 9,000 people to Honolulu, Hawaii this month.

"Today's vote by IUCN members is the first time that a major international body has called on every country in the world to close its legal markets for elephant ivory," said Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"It's truly a landmark moment, and a victory for elephants that will hopefully be repeated later this month at the next meeting of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg."

Although the motion is non-binding, it "urges the governments of countries with domestic ivory markets to take all necessary legislative and regulatory efforts to close them," according to the IUCN.

Experts say that domestic ivory markets help fuel poaching by allowing traffickers a cover for their illegal imports and exports.

The United States and China, among the biggest consumers of ivory, have already agreed to enact near-total bans on their domestic markets.

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers prepare a pyre in preparation for a burning 
of tonnes of ivory, rhino-horn and other confiscated wildlife trophies (AFP Photo/
Tony Karumba)

At the IUCN meeting, Japan and Namibia -- which also have thriving domestic ivory markets -- sought to soften the language of the motion by making 20 different amendments, but those efforts were rejected.

"The global conservation community is stepping up," said Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper.

"No more domestic ivory sales. Elephants have had enough of the ivory trade and so has the world."

Poaching persists

CITES banned the international commercial trade in African elephant ivory in 1989.

But illegal poaching of endangered elephants for their tusks persists at dangerous levels, according to research released at the start of the September 1-10 conference, the largest of its kind in the conservation community.

Savanna elephants have declined at a rate of 27,000 -- or eight percent -- per year, with a total of 144,000 lost in less than a decade, said the findings.

Poaching hotspots identified include Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania, where "staggering population declines" were found, said the study funded by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen.

The US and China, among the biggest consumers of ivory, have already agreed
to enact near-total bans on their domestic markets (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

Other populations face "local extinction" in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Cameroon and southwest Zambia.

Wildlife groups hailed the IUCN move and called for more action at the CITES talks in Johannesburg later this month.

"There, we remain hopeful the delegates will be emboldened by the IUCN vote to adopt a resolution submitted by African governments that also calls for closure of domestic ivory markets," said Samper.

"The shutting down of domestic ivory markets will send a clear signal to traffickers and organized criminal syndicates that ivory is worthless and will no longer support their criminal activities causing security problems in local communities and wiping out wildlife."

Related Article:


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Study sounds alarm for Africa's slow-breeding forest elephants

Yahoo – AFP, August 31, 2016

The population of Central Africa's forest elephants has been decimated by illegal
hunting, with an estimated 65 percent decline between 2002 and 2013, researchers
say (AFP Photo/Laudes Martial Mbon)

Paris (AFP) - Even without poachers, Central Africa's forest elephants would need almost a century to get their numbers back up to 2002 levels, said a study Wednesday that pried into the elusive creatures' slow-breeding ways.

The population had been decimated by illegal hunting, with an estimated 65 percent decline between 2002 and 2013, said researchers.

Roaming the tropical forests of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo, the tusker sub-species is thought to have numbered about one to two million at its peak, study co-author George Wittemyer of Colorado State University told AFP.

In 1993, the rough estimate was 500,000, and in 2013 some 100,000.

"The forest populations are reproducing now, though at a very slow rate," Wittemyer said by email.

"The problem is that poaching is removing individuals at a rate that either drives the population to decline or negates any increases due to births."

Forest elephants are smaller than savannah elephants -- the other, much better studied, African sub-species.

Their ears are more oval-shaped, while their tusks are straighter and point downward, according to environmental group WWF.

Targeted by poachers for their meat and ivory-bearing tusks, the forest elephant is categorised as "vulnerable", which means "facing a high risk of extinction in the wild," the WWF website says.

African forest elephant (AFP Photo/Laurence Chu)

Wittemyer and a team analysed data obtained from decades-long, on-sight monitoring of the births and deaths of elephants at Dzanga Bai, a park in Central African Republic.

90 years to recover

In what is claimed to be the first-ever study of forest elephant demography, they concluded the creature was a much slower breeder than its open-air cousin.

Female forest elephants only start reproducing after the age of 20, and give birth once every five to six years, the team observed.

Their cousins from the savannah, by comparison, typically start breeding at 12 and produce a calf every three to four years.

"Their reported low birth rates mean that it will take forest elephants at least 90 years to recover" from poaching losses, the researchers said in a statement.

The data suggested that what are considered sustainable levels of trade in forest elephant ivory, were calculated on the basis of overestimated population growth rates, they added.

This should be kept in mind when ivory trade limits are next debated, said the team -- crucially at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which opens in Johannesburg on September 24.

Forest elephants are crucial for their environment, and many tree species rely on the giants to disperse their seeds. The trees, in turn, absorb climate-altering greenhouse gases.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tunisia agrees on national unity government amid growing security concerns

The Tunisian parliament has approved the new government of Youssef Chahed. The decision ends months of negotiations as the country deals with various security and economic challenges.

Deutsche Welle, 27 Aug 2016


Members of the North African country's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of Chahed's new unity government, ending some three months of tense negotiations.

The government, with a new cabinet line-up announced on August 20, won by a margin of 167-22 with five abstentions.

Chahed took the reins as prime minister after a no-confidence vote ended his predecessor Habib Essid's government after just 18 months.


Tunisia faces numerous challenges. Poverty and unemployment continue to be major problems in the country, while a string of terrorist attacks targeting tourists over the past year have exposed the country's fragile security situation.

blc/kl (AFP, dpa)

Japan PM pledges to invest $30 bn in Africa by 2018

Yahoo – AFP, August 27, 2016

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a session with Kenya's Ministry
 of Health and World Bank group at the Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD) in Nairobi on August 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

Japan will pour $30 billion (27 billion euros) in investment into Africa by 2018, including $10 billion in infrastructure development, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday at a summit in Nairobi.

"When combined with the investment from the private sector I expect the total real amount to be $30 billion," Abe said at the opening of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

"This is an investment that has faith in Africa's future," he said.

Abe will use the conference to meet dozens of leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa's Jacob Zuma.

It is the first time that the TICAD conference is being held in Africa, with all five previous events hosted in Japan.

The goal of the conference is to boost trade and aid to Africa, as Japan hopes that quality will trump quantity in the battle for influence against cash-rich China.

While Tokyo already has a well-established presence in Africa, its financial importance to the continent has long since been eclipsed by regional rival China.

The world's second-largest economy -- a resource-hungry giant -- recorded total trade with Africa of about $179 billion in 2015, dwarfing Japan's approximately $24 billion.


President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya visits the Mombasa Nairobi Railway built
by China Communications Construction on Jan. 24, 2014. (Photo/Xinhua)

Related Articles:


" .... Africa

Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.

Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.

In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit.. ...."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Malian jihadist says sorry for destroying Timbuktu

Yahoo – AFP, Jan Hennop and Jo Biddle, August 22, 2016

Alleged Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi pleaded guilty to
a single charge of cultural destruction at the International Criminal Court in The
Hague on August 22, 2016 (AFP Photo/Patrick Post)

The Hague (AFP) - A Malian jihadist pleaded guilty Monday to attacking the fabled city of Timbuktu and begged forgiveness as the world was shown sickening videos of him tearing down centuries-old Muslim shrines with a pick-axe.

At the opening of his unprecedented war crimes trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi also urged other Muslims not to follow such "evil" ways.

Mahdi, a former teacher and Islamic scholar, is the first person to plead guilty before the ICC and the first to face a lone charge for the war crime of directing an attack on a historic or religious monument.

"I plead guilty," Mahdi said, after being read the charge arising from the 2012 attack on the UNESCO world heritage site when a group of Islamist jihadists swept across Mali's remote north.

Armed with videos, graphics and 360 degree landscapes, ICC prosecutors minutely catalogued before the three judges the destruction in the west African city, dubbed "The Pearl of the Desert."

The first of three prosecution witness also described the detailed methods, including satellite imagery, used to investigate the destruction.

Aged about 40, Mahdi is also the first Islamist extremist to appear before the tribunal launched in The Hague in 2002 to try the world's worst crimes, and the first facing allegations stemming from the conflict in Mali.

He is accused of "intentionally directing attacks" against nine of Timbuktu's famous mausoleums as well as the Sidi Yahia mosque between June 30 and July 11, 2012.

The mausoleums of Timbuktu (AFP Photo/Alain BOMMENEL, Jean-Michel CORNU)

City of saints

Founded between the fifth and the 12th centuries by Tuareg tribes, Timbuktu's very name evokes centuries of history and has also been called "the city of 333 saints" for the number of Muslim sages buried there.

Revered as a centre of Islamic learning during its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries and a designated UNESCO world heritage site, Timbuktu was considered idolatrous by the jihadists.

Prosecutors on Monday showed shocking images of jihadists smashing down the tombs, pushing down earthen walls that had stood for hundreds of years and hacking at them with pick-axes while their assault rifles lay nearby.

In one video, Mahdi and others were seen ripping open the door of the Sidi Yahia mosque, which had been kept closed for hundreds of years.

ICC prosecutors allege Mahdi was a member of Ansar Dine, a mainly ethnic Tuareg movement that in 2012 took control of Timbuktu, some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) northeast of Bamako, along with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Mahdi, who was then head of the "Hisbah" or the "Manners Brigade", said he regretted the damage he had caused and was "really sorry".

"I would like to seek the pardon of all the whole people of Timbuktu," he said.

Transferred to the ICC by Niger in 2015, Mahdi was seen as a ruthless jihadist enforcer, fiercely imposing the strictest interpretation of Sharia law.

Islamist militants destroy an ancient shrine in Timbuktu in July 2012 (AFP Photo/)

But vowing that was all in the past, he sought to distance himself from the jihadists describing their acts as "evil."

Dressed in a Western suit with a blue-and-white striped tie instead of his earlier white collarless shirt, he said he hoped "the years I will spend in prison will be a source of purging the evil spirits that had overtaken me".

Mankind's heritage

Amid scenes of similar destruction in Iraq and Syria, the ICC prosecutors have said the case is about much more than just stones and walls.

Such "deliberate attacks on cultural property have become actual weapons of war," ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the court.

"The heritage of mankind was ransacked," she said, adding that the jihadists "wanted to destroy these monuments and simply wipe them off the map".

The judgement will follow later, but it was revealed that the defence and prosecution have struck a deal under which Mahdi would not appeal a jail term of between nine to 11 years.

The judges warned however the court is not bound by the deal, and he could face up to 30 years imprisonment.

Critics have also urged the court to investigate allegations of other crimes committed during the Mali conflict, including rape and other sexual violence.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Saudi Arabia picks princess to head women's sports

Saudi Arabia has selected Princess Reema bint Bandar as the country's de facto minister for women's sports. This year, the kingdom doubled the number of its female athletes from two to four.

Deutsche Welle, 3 Aug 2016


Saudi's Cabinet announced on Tuesday that Princess Reema would head the General Authority for Sports without disclosing further details about her role.

The daughter of the ex-ambassador to the US, Princess Reema spent much of her youth in Washington, D.C. "I am honored to serve my country," she was quoted as saying by the SPA state news agency.

Female athletics have historically not been encouraged in the kingdom, though recently there have been calls for change. In an unprecedented move, one state school introduced sports for girls in 2014.

Evolving on women's sports

In an interview with Fast Company magazine, Princess Reema said she has been working to promote women's empowerment in the country.

"Our society tend to change a bit slower than other," she told the magazine last year. "We have to explain to people that it's evolution, not Westernization."

The Cabinet's announcement comes as the kingdom gears up for the 2014 Olympic Games in Rio, where four of its women athletes will compete alongside seven male athletes. That number represents an increase of 50 percent from the number of Saudi women who competed in the last Olympic games.

blc/kms (AFP, AP)
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Pope 'opens door' to female deacons with new panel
Tokyo elects Yuriko Koike as first woman governor


"Listening to the Voice of Spirit" (2) - Feb 20, 2016 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (DNA Efficiency is on average at 35 percent now) (Text version)

“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jailed ex-Chad dictator Habre ordered to compensate victims

Yahoo – AFP, Malick Rokhy Ba, July 29, 2016

Hissene Habre led Chad from 1982-1990, his rule marked by fierce repression of
opponents and targeting of rival ethnic groups (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)

Dakar (AFP) - Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre, sentenced to life in May for crimes against humanity, was ordered Friday to pay what could amount to tens of millions of euros to his thousands of victims.

A special African Union court ruled he should give up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) to each victim who suffered rape, arbitrary detention and imprisonment during his abusive 1982-1990 rule, as well as to their relatives.

"We will spare no effort to locate and seize Habre's assets and make sure the victims are compensated," said Human Rights Watch lawyer Reed Brody, who spent 15 years trying to bring him to justice.

Habre was sentenced to life in jail on May 30 by the court set up to try him a quarter century after he fled to Senegal following his 1990 ouster by Chad's current president Idriss Deby.

The landmark conviction was seen by rights campaigners as a victory in the fights against impunity.

It set a global precedent as the first time a country had prosecuted the former leader of another nation for rights abuses. It was also the first such trial by the African Union.

Hissene Habre led Chad from 1982-1990, his rule marked by fierce repression of 
opponents and targeting of rival ethnic groups (AFP Photo/J-M.Cornu/S.Ramis/
A.Bommenel, jj/)

Friday's financial compensation order was issued by the court's presiding judge, Burkina Faso's Gberdao Gustave Kam, who did not detail how many people would win redress.

But the main lawyer for victims of Habre's rule, Jacqueline Moudeina, told journalists that 4,733 civil plaintiffs were involved in the case.

Of those, 1,625 were direct victims of regime brutality, having been jailed without trial or taken prisoner of war. Around a dozen women could claim for rape or sexual abuse, she said.

The court ordered Habre "to pay each of the victims of rape and sexual slavery the sum of 20 million CFA francs (30,490 euros), to each victim of arbitrary detention, or prisoners of war ... 15 million CFA francs; and to indirect victims, 10 million," Kam said.

One of the civil plaintiffs, jeweller Abdourahmane Gueye who says he was jailed for several months on charges of spying, said the compensation was far too low.

"I lost more than 30 million," he said.

'Africa's Pinochet'

"Money will never bring me back my friends," said former detainee Souleymane Guengueng. "But it helps to heal the wounds, to support those who became poor and it shows we have rights that must be recognised."

The 73-year-old former leader, who refused to recognise the court throughout the nine-month trial, did not attend the hearing. His court-appointed lawyers said they would appeal.

A group of Habre victims, including lawyer Reed Brody, said they estimated total compensation at around 53 billion CFA francs, almost 80.8 million euros.

The court has already frozen some of his assets, including a house in an upscale Dakar neighbourhood thought to be worth about 680,000 euros as well as some small bank accounts. But Habre is thought to have much more extensive assets.

Chadian dictator Hissene Habre gesturing as he leaves a Dakar courthouse after 
an identity hearing on June 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Seyllou)

Often known as "Africa's Pinochet", Habre was accused of the deaths of 40,000 people, charges he denied.

Witnesses recounted the horror of life in Chad's prisons, describing in graphic detail abusive and often deadly punishments inflicted by Habre's feared secret police, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS).

Victims were subject to electric shocks and waterboarding while some had gas sprayed in their eyes or spice rubbed into their genitals, the court heard.

Habre's defence team unsuccessfully sought to cast doubt on the prosecution's argument that their client was an all-knowing, all-powerful head of the DDS, suggesting he may have been unaware of abuses on the ground.

For more than 20 years, the former dictator lived freely in an upmarket Dakar suburb with his wife and children.

Brody said in May that the conviction was a warning.

"The days when tyrants could brutalise their people, pillage their treasury and escape abroad to a life of luxury are coming to an end," Brody said in a statement.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Surprise as veterans join growing anti-Mugabe movement

Once considered some of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s strongest supporters, war veterans have joined a growing chorus of people speaking out against the long-serving president.

Deutsche Welle, 22 Jul 2016


In a statement released on Thursday (21.07.2016), the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) described the 92-year-old president as a dictator and announced that they would no longer support his rule.

"[Mugabe's] leadership has presided over unbridled corruption and downright mismanagement of the economy, leading to national economic ruin for which the effects are now felt throughout the land," the veterans said in the statement, issued after a seven-hour meeting of its leaders.

The veterans fought alongside Mugabe during the country's war for independence (in 1980) and continually supported the president during previous campaigns, sometimes violently.

"We note, with concern, shock and dismay, the systematic entrenchment of dictatorial tendencies, personified by the President and his cohorts, which have slowly devoured the values of the liberation struggle," the statement continued .

Mugabe is the head of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) party, which he has led since independence in 1980. He rose to power as the leader of a rebel group which fought in a guerilla war against white minority rule of then Rhodesia. He has been the president of Zimababwe since 1987.

Protests and counter-protests

The release of the statement by the war veterans comes after weeks of organized protests against the ruling party in Zimbabwe. Some of the protests were spontaneous while others were planned using social media.

Pastor Evan Mawarire took to social media this year to complain about the economic situation in Zimababwe. His posts led to a campaign under the hashtag #ThisFlag asking Zimbabweans to take pictures of themselves wearing the country's flag in a sign of protest against corruption, injustice and poverty in the country.

With his #ThisFlag movement, Pastor Evan Mawarire has become the face
of government opposition

The #ThisFlag campaign took off and the pastor used its popularity to protest the government by asking people to "shut down" the country by staying home for one day. The protests led to Mawarire being briefly detained before the case was thrown out by the court. Mawarire has stated that he is considering future actions to continue to put pressure on the Mugabe government.

A demonstration in support of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF by the party's youth wing was also held this week. Unlike previous demonstrations which were violently suppressed by the police and security forces, this protest was guarded and protected by the police.

"The youths may provide him with the muscle he needs right now, but they don't command any meaningful political stock," political analyst Gabriel Shumba, chairman of the South Africa-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, told the AFP.

Such events tend to attract many young men although the majority of Zimbabwean youth remain unemployed. According to some estimates by independent economists, up to 80 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed. The government puts the figure at 11 percent, arguing that most people are employed in the informal sector. Recent graduates are planning a demonstration against Mugabe next week after he failed to deliver on his promise last year to create two million jobs.

Is change coming?

Over the past couple of months, the number of protests against the President Mugabe and his government has been increasing. The absense of the war veterans from this week's march in support of the ruling party and their subsequent statement denouncing Mugabe has raised the question of whether support for the long-serving president is falling to levels which could lead to political change in the country.

"The people of Zimbabwe are not taking the situation into their own hands in registering their displeasure with the government," said Alexander Rusero, a political analyst in Harare. "We also have a government that is clueless in terms of what to do to alleviate the poverty or to calm the disgruntlement that has gripped the citizens of Zimbabwe."

Many of the protests are in response to the failing economic situation in the country. Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe is in crisis as the country's economy deals with hyperinflation and a currency shortage. Most civil servants are yet to be paid for June or July and even the country's military has not been paid on schedule this month.


"This is really uncharted water for Zimbabwe," said Wilf Mbanga, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper The Zimbabwean which is published outside of the country. "So many people are prepared to confront the government and they all now agree that this government must go."

But Mbanga was cautious in predicting whether the latest protests would lead to political change in Zimbabwe.

"Mugabe has a very strong army which is solidly behind him but this month they have not been paid," he said. "Will they now be prepared to fight for a government that is failing to pay them?"